Custom injection molder Plastic Molding Manufacturing Co. (PMM) expects to have five new presses up and running in February.
Along with the new presses — two with clamping forces of 200 tons, two with 250 and one with 80 tons — PMM purchased two computer-controlled coordinate measuring machines (CMMs), for a total investment of more than $1 million.
PMM operates more than 130 presses and employs 220. Plastics News estimates the company's annual sales at $37 million, placing it No. 169 among North American injection molders.
The COVID-19 pandemic's effect on the economy forced the firm to forgo some planned acquisitions and even consolidate a bit. In late 2019, CEO George Danis had told Plastics News he was negotiating to acquire three businesses, in the Midwest, upstate New York and North Carolina.
"Due to the epidemic we did not pursue any of them, as of now," Danis said in a recent phone interview. "But there are other ones [we are] looking at. I spoke with a broker yesterday about other plants that are on the market."
The economic downturn — especially its effect on the automotive market — also led the company to close the 46,000-square-foot facility it acquired in its 2019 purchase of injection molder Phillips-Moldex Co. PMM had planned to keep the Putnam, Conn., company's facility, but ended up relocating the equipment to PMM's four plants in Berlin, Conn.; Lancaster, Pa.; South Bend, Ind.; and its headquarters plant in Hudson, Mass.
Still, Danis said, PMM had a good year and its "core initiative" for 2021 is pursuing new technology and automation.
"We're in the process of purchasing a 3D printer" and creating a prototype lab, he said. The company is using real-time training for machine operators, and for engineering technicians in the use of integrated equipment such as digital microscope cameras.
With such equipment, Danis said, "If we sample a tool for a company in California or Illinois or Pennsylvania, the customer on their desktop or laptop can in real time review the sampling process, including inspecting parts using the microscope."
PMM's markets include medical, industrial, automotive, electronics and defense. It also performs insert molding and overmolding and offers various secondary services.